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Seeking Answers & Emotional Pain Relief Because of His Narcissism, Addictions, & Abuse

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Secrets of a Formerly Miserable Wife

Author Diane England, Ph.D. has the credentials you expect, plus she has 
empathy and speaks from the heart because she has been there, too.

 “Here’s How Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, plus Antisocial Personality and Antisocial Personality Disorder, Relate to Domestic Violence”

Do you live in a world of dark little secrets in which you’re pierced constantly by your partner’s hurtful words? They don’t just sting slightly, do they? Rather, they probably plunge straight on through your heart.  

That’s how I experienced my partner’s verbal abuse. I imagine it’s like that for you, too.

Abusive men seem to behave similarly. Well, not all of them engage in physical abuse. My husband didn’t, and I assume yours might not, either. Most abusive men who are financially or professionally successful don’t. Perhaps they have too much to lose?

Actually, they usually can accomplish what they want through verbal abuse and emotional abuse anyway, wouldn’t you agree? Well, sexual abuse and economic abuse are common tactics as well. However, they’re disinclined to use social abuse--or isolating the woman from friends and family. They leave that tactic to the guys who also favor physical abuse.

These narcissistic but abusive men might appear to be pillars of their community. Indeed, they might lead companies on which others depend. They might be the doctors and attorneys to whom people turn to resolve challenging problems that threaten them. They might be ministers who provide others with spiritual guidance.

They are often the type of men others practically worship while the abused woman feels alone in her pain.

Yes, the abused wife often suffers in silence, unsure if she’s losing her mind. After all, he constantly tells her she’s wrong and misperceiving things. She begins to doubt her own perceptions and sanity because of the psychologically abusive tactics he’s apt to use.

And so she finds herself living in a world of dark little secrets because she’s married to a man who’s probably at least a narcissist, if not someone who suffers from the mental health disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Are You Married to an Abusive Narcissist?

If you’re married to a financially and professionally successful narcissist. as I just said, he knows better than to engage in physical abuse. It might ruin his reputation and destroy what he’s accomplished. And again, he probably doesn’t need to, either. He manages to accomplish what he wants quite successfully through his words.

 Why can your partner impact you so deeply with merely his words? Well, because he knows who you are—or the person you’re striving to become—and how to push your buttons. In other words, he knows what you value or like about yourself. So to devastate you, those are the very things he pounces upon.

When he attacks your strengths, it’s as if he has thrust a sword straight through to your inner core and skillfully removed that which makes you unique and special. And in doing so, he negates who you are as a person.

His tactics kill your spirit and trample your soul.

Now can you understand why being around him can be so painful? Does it make more sense how you’ve lost your feelings of confidence and are unsure about yourself all the time? How can you feel good about your gifts when he attacks them all the time? No wonder you feel hopeless and lost.

It may be devastating, but it’s also one of the favorite tactics of this type of abusive man. He uses it because it works for him, not because he’s concerned about or cares for you.

Narcissistic men aren’t interested in showing empathy and building a relationship. They’re interested in being on top. They’re interested in being right and making you wrong.

They are interested in winning. And verbal abuse and emotional abuse an psychological abuse and sexual abuse and economic abuse all help him to do that. And without laying a hand on you.

He still exercises control, doesn’t he?

Are You Confused by How to Label It?

So which of the forms of abuse these men typically use are your partner’s favorites? Or are you unsure what should be labeled which?

Certainly, sometimes it’s hard to delineate what specific behaviors should be labeled. How do you delineate verbal abuse from emotional abuse when he uses words to create the emotional pain? And how does emotional abuse really differ from psychological abuse anyway?

Perhaps labels don’t matter that much, not when you get right down to it. Perhaps what’s more important is to just realize that you have a partner who’s abusive—perhaps due to his narcissism or his alcoholism or his sexual addiction—or maybe due to traits of other personality disorders he exhibits as well.

Again, the labels or why he’s abusive aren’t that important. What is important is the fact he is, and that you recognize how that impacts you. Also, how can you decrease the damage caused by the forms of abuse you encounter regularly through his words and his actions?

You might not be abused by his hands—through physical violence—but do not minimize the destructiveness of the abuse you suffer. In fact, make sure you read the article about how you’re brain is impacted by living with a man who uses verbal abuse and emotional abuse as his tactics. I can tell you that I personally experienced the type of cognitive deterioration of which I wrote.

Fortunately, after I got out of that toxic environment and began recovery work, I regained my ability to remember, think, and talk in complete sentences. I just hope you wake up before too much damage is done so you’re also so lucky. Not all women are. In fact, some might not destroy their minds, but their bodies rebel instead. They end up sick and die.

I’m not painting a very pretty picture. But you need to know the potential price you might pay for that seemingly good life your financially but narcissistic and abusive man provides. It really can come at quite a high cost.

Has that thought been crossing your mind lately? It sure crossed mine a number of times before I rallied up the strength to leave.

Plus I suppose it’s easier to remain in denial about what’s happening when you’re not living with the abuse dished out by the man with the antisocial personality—if not exhibiting full-fledged Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Most men who are financially or professionally successful but exhibit unhealthy narcissism—whether it’s full-fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder or merely some unhealthy narcissistic behaviors—seem disinclined to use physical abuse. This is quite different from the abusive man with Antisocial Personality Disorder; he’s apt to become very violent at times. (Again, those with this personality disorder were previously called sociopaths and then psychopaths before that). But the man displaying narcissism doesn’t really need to engage in physical abuse, either. See, he’s usually able to control his wife (and perhaps his children as well) quite effectively through both verbal abuse and emotional abuse.

Actually, narcissists are also inclined to include sexual abuse and economic abuse in their arsenal. I’m not going to discuss why that’s so, however. You can discover more about this in the book I’ve written called Secrets of a Formerly Miserable Wife (available at this website) if you want to do so. For now, just realize the narcissistic man may use these forms of abuse. However, just as he’s inclined not to use physical abuse, he’s also less inclined to use social abuse than the abusive man who probably fits into the antisocial personality category—or exhibits more behaviors associated with Antisocial Personality Disorder versus Narcissistic Personality Disorder or narcissism.

Are you finding this confusing? If so, it might help if you think of human behavior as occurring along a continuum. In other words, some people would have narcissistic traits without exhibiting the full-blown personality disorder. A Harvard psychiatrist, Dr. Ratey, has called these shadow syndromes—where a person displays some of the characteristics of the mental health disorder, but not enough of them to be designated as suffering from that particular mental illness. Therefore, just as a person can exhibit some of the unhealthy traits of narcissism, but without being diagnosable as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the same holds true for antisocial personality traits versus the full-blown personality disorder.

We must discuss Narcissistic Personality Disorder versus Antisocial Personality Disorder (or versus the sociopath or psychopath, if you’re still inclined to use those older terms instead). We need to compare them to what we’d label as normal. Except Dr. Ratey also suggests there’s probably not such a thing as normal. He suggests we all seem to have a shadow syndrome of one mental illness at least. But for now, let’s assume that normalcy does exist after all. Maintaining this assumption, we can say that the person exhibiting Narcissistic Personality Disorder would be closer to normal than the individual with Antisocial Personality Disorder. Also, the person displaying some of the behaviors associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but not having the full-blown personality disorder, would be the more normal than the individual diagnosed with NPD.

The Pain of Living with a Successful 
but Narcissistic Man

 If you’re married to a man who exhibits narcissism or is narcissistic—even if he doesn’t have full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder—the odds are that your home life is very stressful because he undoubtedly engages in both verbal abuse and emotional abuse quite regularly. Well, perhaps you haven’t wanted to acknowledge this—and I understand because I’ve been in your shoes. Or perhaps you downplay the abuse because you tell yourself it’s only emotional or verbal and not anything like the physical abuse the guy with Antisocial Personality Disorder probably engages in? And maybe you’re not apt to complain because your spouse is a good provider, and he affords you a very nice lifestyle. Is that what makes you willing to overlook some of his bad behavior? In fact, have you convinced yourself it’s the price you must pay for the lifestyle you have?

Well, first of all, you shouldn’t downplay the detrimental effects of living with a man who engages in regular verbal and emotional abuse. Plus many narcissistic men suffer from addictions such as alcoholism and sex addiction. If this is the case with your partner, are you going to try and convince me that you don’t find his attraction to other women or pornography painful? Sure, you might try to live in denial and disregard what he’s doing online or offline. But at some level you probably know what’s occurring. And really, don’t you find this painful?

Whether you want to admit it or not, despite the fact you might appear to be living the good life, you’re good life undoubtedly feels quite bad because it is painful. Furthermore, all the material things aren’t going to make up for the hurtful things you have to endure. Sure, perhaps they helped for awhile—and maybe they still seem adequate compensation. Nevertheless, when you’re living with an abusive narcissist and his various addictions, you’re life is stressful—if not a living hell. This stress is also impacting your brain in negative ways whether you’re aware of this or not.

 Disclaimer: This how-to and self-help relationship advice and information for women about narcissism, addictions and abuse should be considered educational or inspirational—a guide or directory to things to consider and inform questions to ask a professional you contact for sound advice. It is not a substitute for marriage counseling, individual therapy, or legal advice. Women coping with domestic violence such as emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and/or sexual abuse—even where no physical abuse is present—are encouraged to seek professional help for treatment of depression, anxiety, self esteem, and other likely associated issues.

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